Orissa to strengthen its anti-Maoist force

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Bhubaneswar, Jan 15 (PTI) Encouraged by the success ofits own securitymen in eliminating nine ultras and recoveringhuge weapons in Rayagada district recently, Orissa governmenttoday decided to strengthen its anti-Naxalite force, officialsources said.

"A proposal to increase strength of Special OperationGroup (SOG) and District Voluntary Force (DVF), has beenaccepted by the state government," Director General of PoliceManmohan Praharaj told reporters.

According to the police, the state police personnelwere as efficient as CRPF and BSF men in fighting the Maoistsin forests. This was proved during a recent encounter inRayagada district where SOG and DVF personnel gunned down nineultras and busted a camp of the Maoists active in the southerndistricts neighbouring Chhatishgarh and Andhra Pradesh.

Stating that at least 50 SOG units (one unit comprises30 personnel) were now engaged in anti-Maoist operations, theDGP said it was likely to be doubled.

The IG (operation) would soon prepare a blue print onstrengthening for augmentation of the anti-Maoist forceincluding the DVF, he said.

The decision was taken at a meeting chaired by ChiefMinister Naveen Patnaik.

With about 18 of the state''s 30 districts affected byMaoists, there were 12 battalions of central para-militaryforce to assist the state police to fight the ultras. WhileBSF has five battalions, CRPF has seven.

The decision to further strengthen SOG and DVF came inthe wake of the centre''s suggestion to create own strikingforce against red rebels, the DGP said.

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